14 Nov 2013
The Philippine Star reports that the Philippines’ dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has submitted a filing to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), seeking to oppose the planned takeover of Lopez-owned Bayan Telecommunications (Bayan) by Ayala-led Globe Telecom. PLDT is reportedly seeking to deny Globe’s plan for a debt-to-equity transaction that would allow it to take a 56.6% interest in the cash-strapped smaller operator. If approved, the new owner would move to more closely integrate the two firms’ assets and radio frequencies – including having access to Bayan’s 50MHz of spectrum for 4G frequencies on top of its existing 45MHz block – but PLDT has warned that the transaction would circumvent well-established rules on allocation of frequencies. In its filing, the number one operator says that Globe’s plan violates Republic Act 7925, as well as the laws and rules on assignment and allocation of radio frequencies. It notes that Globe currently accounts for 32% of the cellular market (by subscribers) as against PLDT’s 68%, and that the additional spectrum it would gain would be ‘grossly disproportionate’ in relation to the number of subscribers on its books. It complains that its rival would have control over 22.5MHz of the 1800MHz 2G bandwidth, as opposed to PLDT’s 37.5MHz of bandwidth in the 1800MHz band, 50MHz, 2500MHz 4G bandwidth, and 35MHz through Smart and Digitel.